The Roundup for April 20, 2011

Obama’s doing some kind of Facebook town hall meeting or somethin’. And it’s 4/20. I’m just sayin’.

Incidentally, 4/20 also marks my 7th anniversary of blogging, which is a bit scary for me to even write. So I’ll celebrate by telling you about a bunch of stuff other people have written.

• Republicans in Wisconsin say they’ll submit signatures to recall Democratic Sen. Jim Holperin tomorrow. OK then. Four days to go on the rest…

• It’s not just military analysts saying that the war in Libya could drag on, it’s anyone paying attention. And as the stalemate continues, the drumbeat for ground troops will grow louder.

• The reason you’re not going to get a negotiated settlement from state AGs on foreclosure fraud is that a substantial chunk of Republicans have basically begged off the investigation. Most of them weren’t in office when the investigation started last September.

• After all that, the Gang of Six is going to go with a trigger? What a cop-out. But pay attention: Social Security would be in the Gang of Six’ trigger.

Medicare not Millionaires seems to me to be a much better frame that that DCCC commercial from yesterday. Most important, it explains WHY the Republicans want to end Medicare. This radio ad is a bit better as well.

• Purchased lawmakers in both parties want to reduce the corporate tax rate.

Digby’s latest op-ed in The Hill can be summed up with this quote: “My offer is this: nothing.”

• The Texas wildfires look positively horrendous.

• A citizens group in Michigan is already counting down the days to when they can legally petition for a recall of Governor Rick Snyder. It won’t do much good, because even if they’re successful, an emergency financial manager will fire the citizens.

Defending Dick Durbin. I don’t know that his role in Social Security benefit cuts is particularly defensible.

No agreement from the UN Security Council on Yemen. I wonder how hard the United States was really pushing for action from the council this time. The blame is being placed on Russia.

• Yves Smith notes that we shouldn’t overlook the part of the S&P rating of US debt that flagged the financial sector as a substantial risk. “Most importantly, we believe the risks from the U.S. financial sector are higher than we considered them to be before 2008,” S&P writes.

• Incidentally, S&P’s chief economist today called deficit reduction and tax cuts contradictory.

• Mark Bittman writes that the BP oil spill was bad, but the increasing acidification of the oceans, which we perpetuate simply by driving and using electricity every day, is even worse.

• Expect the largest protest yet in Syria on Friday.

• Wells Fargo profits are up 48%, so all is right with the world.

• Election recruitment watch: USDA head Tom Vilsack’s wife Christine will run for Congress against right-wing loon Steve King in Iowa; former Rep. Patrick Murphy wants to run for Attorney General in Pennsylvania.

• Banks are having trouble freezing the assets of Libyans, Egyptians and Tunisians. Why? They say that the different English spellings of their names is a stumbling block.

RIP Tim Hetherington. This is just awful.

• This new set of airline rules looks sensible.

• Speaking of airports, TSA screeners voted to unionize today, but they didn’t pick a specific union. That will have to be decided in a runoff between the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union.

• You can hardly argue with the stance of Tom Cole when he notes that the “czar” provision that Obama did away with in a signing statement was part of a “mutually agreed-upon document.” Why accept its inclusion in the first place?

• We’re starting to see the supply chain consequences of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

• I don’t think we could engrave messages on toenails today. World War I spy technology was pretty advanced!

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